From left to right: Jessica Farley, Task Force Chair; Mechelle Akers Past Chair; Rob Heffron, Coordinator; Schell McCall, Executive Director, Graham Children's Health Services; Amy Sheele former Executive Director, Graham Children's Health Services.

Mitchell-Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force Recognized, Receives $12,500

The MYSATF was recently recognized by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) for its commitment to and role in reducing substance abuse in our area. At its May monthly meeting the Task Force announced that it had received a grant in the amount of $12,500 from the Department of Justice Consumer Protection Agency to continue to educate residents on the importance of properly securing prescription medications and later disposing of unused/outdated drugs. At the recent Drug Take Back Day almost 75,000 pills were counted between Mitchell and Yancey counties and submitted to the Drug Enforcement Agency for destruction. Drugs can be dropped off in Bakersville at the Sheriff’s Office and in Burnsville at either the Sheriff’s office 24/7 or at the Town Hall during business hours.  The Consumer Protection Agency grant will also provide for 100 medication lock boxes to be distributed to social service agencies for those clients where the need for securing drugs might be the greatest. The Task Force was also acknowledged by the North Carolina Coalition Initiative (NCCI) for its program in reducing substance abuse through an NCCI grant. 

t its meeting, the Task Force recognized a number of upcoming personnel changes.  Jessica Farley with the Toe River Health District will be taking on the role of Chair from Mechelle Akers, a pharmacist with Ingles, who successfully chaired the group for a three year period. In addition, Angela Atkins and Kristin Buchanan, school counsellors with the Mitchell and Yancey school systems respectively will be joining the Executive Committee of the Task Force. Current Committee members include Dr. Jim Haaga, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital physician and Dr. Daniel Barron, Director of the AMY Regional Library system.

The Task Force’s Host Agency, Graham Children’s Health Services (GCHS), is also transitioning Executive Directors. After 5 years heading GCHS current Director Amy Sheele is relocating with family to Michigan and Schell McCall formerly with the Center for Rural Health Innovation will be taking on the role June 1. In conjunction with GCHS, the Task Force will be publishing in June a revised version of its Substance Abuse Resource Guide for use by physicians and other healthcare providers as well as its annual Summer Activities Resource Guide for distribution to area students.
For further information relating to the Mitchell-Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force, please contact Task Force Coordinator Rob Heffron at 828-682-7899 or

A   A   A